4 Panthers players who need to step up at the Chargers in Week 3

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Derrick Brown
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Tahir Whitehead /

Tahir Whitehead – Carolina Panthers LB

We don’t want this to become a common theme for Tahir Whitehead. But anyone who thinks the linebacker has reached his early-season goals with the Carolina Panthers is either an eternal optimist or looking at the team’s performance with rose-tinted glasses.

Whitehead has been a big disappointment over the last two games. Coming into the huge shadow left by Luke Kuechly was never going to be easy. But there was some hope he might be able to plug the gap in the short-term thanks to his experience.

This hasn’t been the case so far. Whitehead has been sluggish in run support and his distinct lack of athleticism in coverage is something that was an obvious concern prior to his arrival.

Comparing Whitehead to Kuechly is not going to do the player any favors. The perennial All-Pro was a transcendent talent who had the highest of football IQs to go along with an exceptional ability to make plays consistently.

The former Temple standout is never going to be anything close to this sort of influence. But that doesn’t give him a free-pass regarding his poor start to life in Carolina.

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Whitehead is ranked dead-last at No 76 in Pro Football Focus’ linebacker rankings through two weeks of the campaign and he needs to step up and assist the Panthers in trying to thwart the threat posed by the running back tandem of Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley.